Last week I participated in a great visit to another market to share best-practices on economic development and industry engagement. There were a few things I knew going into the trip, but that were reinforced on the short visit:
Sustained industry engagement is critical in the public policy arena. Technology is changing and disrupting the world around us, but government has not kept up with the pace of innovation. Government will — intentionally or not — hamper progress without regular interaction with industry. However, limited engagement doesn’t work. Industry needs to have strategic, sustained, and proactive communication with all stakeholders to be successful.
We are not alone in dealing with affordability and mobility issues in our state. Other western markets, especially those developing a strong tech sector, face similar challenges. Housing prices are on the rise, commute times are up, land use laws are dated, and transportation funding is in short supply throughout the western United States. If Utah can solve those problems, we will out-compete other markets in the endless war for prosperity fueling talent.
We collaborate really well in Utah. It’s cliche, and you hear me talk about it all the time, but it is indeed a competitive advantage of ours. Our industry groups talk to each other, our business associations collaborate with our government leaders, our economic development groups work well together, and we all have a shared vision for statewide prosperity. This collaboration allows us to compete against larger and denser markets.
I always take away a lot of great information from these best practices exchanges, but I also always leave feeling very grateful for the ecosystem we have and that we’re building.
P.S: If you aren’t registered for our Annual Meeting on September 12, 2017, there are still limited seats available. We are honoring a wonderful slate of economic development champions. Further, we are excited to share our 2016-2017 results and to give you a look forward. Click here to register.